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Plan for road to new airport rejected
12-16-2013, 11:38 AM
Post: #1
Plan for road to new airport rejected
ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: The Planning Commission has rejected the Rs7 billion plan for a new road leading to the under-construction New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA) and endorsed the previous route for which no official fund is required, a document available with Dawn has revealed.

Following the rejection of the controversial plan, the National Highway Authority (NHA) has issued a notification regarding approval of the previous route.

Sources said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would soon visit the under-construction airport and review the previous plan regarding construction of road link to the new airport.

Under the alternative route proposed by the PML-N government, a new road was to be constructed from Golra Mor to the NIIA via Haj Complex and two sectors of Islamabad (I-14 and I-15). Its construction could put an extra burden of Rs7.15bn on the national exchequer.

However, under the previous plan which has been approved by the commission the exiting Kashmir Highway will be linked with the Motorway (M-1 and M-2 Interchange) from where it will be linked to the new airport.

The sources said the plan for the alternative route was rejected at a meeting because it required cutting of a large number of trees falling on the proposed alignment of the road.

“Since the new alignment was just a proposal which needed further feasibility study, therefore to avoid further delay and cost overrun, the NHA was asked to expedite work on the project with approved alignment from Kashmir Highway via M-1 and M-2 interchange to the airport with total length of 32km and also work out other options pf linkages to the airport through Islamabad and land for six-lane facility be acquired now at cheaper rate, otherwise if the process was delayed then cost of land might shoot up and add more burden to the national exchequer.

“The meeting was informed that to cater for the airport traffic, additional traffic lanes with the existing link road from Grand Trunk Road to Motorway Interchange would also be provided. An allocation of Rs500 million exists for the land acquisition in the federal PSDP-2013-14,” the document said. Although the new plan for the road link to the airport was proposed by the present government, the prime minister expressed concerns when he was informed that it required an amount of Rs7bn.

The completion of the NIIA, which was previously named as New Benazir Bhutto International Airport, is already much behind schedule and as a result its cost has gone up three times the original estimates.
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